View From Lodi, CA: “Mirrors of Privilege”—Whites Are Guilty, Case Closed!
I wrote that State Superintendent of Public
Jack O`Connell angered Lodi Unified School District
teachers with his unsubstantiated charge that their
inherent racism is a leading cause in the
scholastic achievement gap between
white students and
their black and Latino peers.
Teachers, according to O`Connell, are
less responsive to the needs of minority students
than they are to those of whites.
O`Connell`s allegations came shortly after a viewing
by many school district and other
California teachers of a video that strongly infers
that teachers` racism is destroying not only our schools
but also our nation.
Summarizing the film, to be white is—by definition—to
In the unlikely case that the so-called documentary`s
title doesn`t make
its agenda clear enough for you, the video is
divided into sub-chapters such as "1,000 Little Cuts”
and “The Sickness Within”
Among the first words spoken by the narrator are
these: “To be white
mandates denial of racism.”
So that`s it—whites
are guilty; case closed!
“Mirrors of Privilege” follows the
well-established pattern in
these accusatory films. To give the air of
credibility and fairness, dozens of white subjects are
interviewed, each recalling an isolated incident
from their distant past that is supposed to serve as the
basis for intelligent discussion about social issues in
The video does heavy-handed preaching. One chapter
discusses the “pathology of white people.”
And in another segment, an interviewee said that when
a white person smiles at a black, that innocent and
friendly gesture indicates an attempt to cover up
After watching the fifty-minute video, I came away
numb from the incessant pounding—”white folks,”
as we were occasionally referred to, are clueless.
Diversity, on the other hand, is wonderful.
But a look at its website shows that those associated
with the project—most importantly, those who
funded it—have a left-leaning agenda that encourages
And it is equally important to note that promoting
is a huge, moneymaking business. Toyota Motors, to
name just one example, has committed $8 billion over the
next decade for diversity training. [Toyota
Earmarks $8 billion for Diversification Efforts,
By David Barboza, New York Times, August 1, 2001]
All those people hosting seminars and publishing
books, pamphlets, videos and offering mentoring sessions
are beating a path to their banks to deposit the
huge fees that they collect in the name of
When a public institution pays those fees, that`s
your tax money going into someone else`s pocket.
Despite all the hoopla about diversity, little
tangible evidence exists that it`s productive.
In his recent study The
Effects of Diversity on Business Performance, [PDF]
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of
Management Professor Thomas A. Kochan found that
repeated diversity-training sessions do nothing to
improve performance or to create a more harmonious work
force. (Also check out
Diversity`s Business Case Doesn`t Add Up.)
Mandatory diversity training sessions, according
to Professor Kochan, may even create a bias where none
Diversity is controversial, especially when it is
presented as the Holy Grail, and should be a subject for
intelligent debate. But opposing views are often
suppressed and rarely encouraged. One LUSD teacher told
me that at his middle school, the principal told his
staff to watch to video without comment.
What my teaching colleagues most objected to is that
“Mirrors of Privilege” wasted 55 minutes out of
their busy day.
That valuable time, they said, could have been used
toward educating your child.